Like it or not, India has just concluded its first social media election.
It is no coincidence that the national parties that were late adopters or did not have a social media strategy also acquired the image of non-transparency, out of sync with the aspirations of the youth, first-time voters and other key voting demographics in the country. Undoubtedly, this was Indiaâ€™s first election with such large-scale usage of technology, open-access internet platforms to connect, build conversations, share, mobilise opinion and citizen action. Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi saw this first-hand and had the first-mover advantage in using these technology tools to reach out to Indiaâ€™s huge youth demographic.
The Internet and social media are slowly beginning to revolutionize the Islamic marketplace of ideas for Central Asians. Similar to processes identified by scholars like Peter Mandaville in other contexts, Central Asiaâ€™s access to digital Islam has been delayed by low Internet penetration, authoritarian controls on media and communication, and, in part, by Central Asiaâ€™s peripheral status in the Muslim world. Advances in communications technology and large-scale migration are rapidly eroding these obstacles, however, allowing Central Asians to increasingly participate in trans-national Islamic discourses through digital media.